Drew Doughty scored with 2:28 left in overtime to lift Canada to a 2-1 win over Finland on Sunday in the final preliminary round game of the men’s Olympic hockey tournament in Sochi, Russia.
The defending gold medalists finished first in Group B and earned the No. 3 seed for the quarterfinals. The Finns will be seeded fourth among the final eight teams.
Sweden gets the top seed as the only team to win all three of its preliminary-round games in regulation. The United States will be seeded second, having won a tiebreaker with the Canadians on goal differential.
Doughty also scored midway through the first period, and Canada’s Carey Price had to make just 14 saves for the win.
Tuomo Ruutu scored for the Finns midway through the second period.
Doughty won the game midway through the overtime, skating into the left circle and flicking a wrist shot that went across and past Finland goalie and Boston Bruins standout Tuukka Rask. Doughty scored to make it 1-0 with a shot from the left circle that didn’t seem to be particularly hard and with no one distracting Rask’s view.
Rask finished with 25 saves in a solid performance at Bolshoy Ice Dome that included some difficult stops with his glove and pads.
The Finns might have gotten a break when Canada had a goal waved off because of a high stick early in the game. With the puck resting on top of the net, Rick Nash whacked at it and the puck ended up going past the goal line.
It was negated by video review because of a rule that an attacking player can’t raise his stick above the height of the crossbar prior to the puck entering the net.
For Canada to repeat as gold medalists, it might have to beat standout goalie Jonas Hiller and the Swiss in the quarterfinals and the surging Americans in the semifinals just to play for the title next Sunday.
Finland is the only nation to win three medals in Olympic hockey since the NHL began letting its players participate in 1998. Its chances to win a fourth medal in this era took a hit when forward Aleksander Barkov, hurt during Friday’s win over Norway, was ruled out for the rest of the Sochi Games with a lower-body injury.
Russia 1, Slovakia 0 — One day after a tough shootout loss to the Americans, the Russians were right back in another Group A shootout at Bolshoy Ice Dome. Unknown Slovak goalie Jan Laco had blanked their powerful offense for 65 minutes, and Russia was risking a second straight Olympic loss, but Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Radulov wouldn’t let it happen.
After Semyon Varlamov (27 saves) stopped both Slovak attempts in the shootout, Kovalchuk beat Laco to seal the Russians’ second win in the preliminary round.
Winless Slovakia must face the Czech Republic in the qualification round on Tuesday.
Austria 3, Norway 1 — In the day’s first game at Bolshoy Ice Dome, Austria earned its first Olympic hockey win in 12 years behind two goals and an assist by the New York Islanders’ Michael Grabner. Michael Raffl scored in the first period for Austria, which finished third in Group B at 1-2.
Austria’s reward is a matchup with Slovenia in the qualification round on Tuesday.